More for Better

The problem with most platforms for creators is that they don’t provide more for better. They provide more for more.

Some of the last well-earning stories I had on Medium were rewrites of articles I had penned five years before. I was getting to the point where repeating myself would have been the most profitable thing to do, and that’s a problem most platforms share.

Of course, if you’re out for easy money, that’s not a problem at all. Many Youtubers are happy to make videos following the same patterns, using the same music, promoting them with the same thumbnails, over and over and over again. But that’s not art. That’s mass production. And then there’s MrBeast. Every video is grander, crazier, more ambitious than the last. Every video forces the audience to grow with him — or go back to enjoying his older stuff if they don’t like his latest incarnation.

If you’re serious about art in any of its infinite forms — combining classical music with dubstep, getting AI art generators to paint masterpieces, or delivering a customer service experience people will never forget — you don’t want to be stuck in a place that pays more for more. You must find a place that offers more for better.

“Better” can mean any one of a million things. “More” is just one of them, and even that comes in various shades. “More” can also mean “different.” Twitter doesn’t want you to reinvent yourself. It wants you to tweet on brand. Change direction, and you’ll lose half your followers — or at least all of your engagement.

Chances are, the place where you’ll be rewarded more for being better is a place you’ll have to build yourself. Be accountable to the audience, not the algorithm! What do your customers want? Sometimes it’ll be more. Sometimes it’ll be less. Sometimes it’ll be faster loading speeds of the same page, and sometimes it’ll be a completely different membership model that they didn’t even know they needed until you invented it. But you’ll never even have the idea if you’re busy serving the server, going full speed ahead with blinders, cranking out an endless sludge of content so the firehose may keep spraying and the platform will keep paying.

Be wary of more for more. Insist on more for better, and you’ll find a game you can keep playing forever.